Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Awesome Or Not?

Want to know what's really awesome?

Needing a total of 8 tiles to complete two bathroom renovations, only having 2 and a 1/2 and so when you go to buy more, you find out that your tile has been discontinued.

Having your hours cut at work so that you have to work at the restaurant 2-3 times a week now. I should say the restaurant is really more of a bar that also serves food. People really do go there to get drunk. That's why I work in the morning. Drunk tourists - awesome, drunk locals - not so much.

Working 2 shifts a week there equals only one day off during the week or doing doubles twice a week. This is why I no longer have a life.

The new hours at the store now mean I go in at 5:30 leaving me with about 10 minutes to spend with John. These 10 minutes are usually spent with me standing over the counter cramming dinner into my mouth.

Did I say I work at a bar? Yeah. A bar. Did I also mention that there is a huge AA conference in town this weekend? Yep. And I work at a bar....Awesome.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Still here

I have a couple of posts I need to write, but haven't found the time to sit down and write 'em. It's bad when your husband starts mentioning that you need to update, but I figure it's a good way to get us talking more. LOL. I think he's actually waiting for me to post pictures from his first hockey game. Oh yeah. Didn't I tell you? John's playing hockey now.

Today is my one and only day off this week and I have a lot to do. We're totally redoing our hall bath this week and John is dead set on getting it all done for the Hinchman Olympics. This means that I need to go and paint. He's got to lay some new tile and put in new baseboards as well as installing the new sink.

I've got to get moving now. I'm already behind considering I slept in and missed my orthodontist appointment this morning. Now I've got to go in late this afternoon which means crappy traffic on my drive home.

I'll be painting the bathroom if you need me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shopping Around

John and I would both like new cellphones. Ours are starting to get pretty beat up (well, John's more than mine, but if he's getting a new one it's only fair that I get one). We're no longer under contract with our current provider (T-Mobile) so if we wanted to make a switch we could.

John gets a discount with AT&T through his job so it has some potential. Amazon also has this great sale going on where you can get a new phone with a new plan for only a PENNY. Pretty awesome. It ends on the 30th if you're interested and you can get an upgrade for a pretty great discount too.

In case you didn't know this about me I am cheap. Someone tried to correct me and call me frugal, but I said, "No. I'm cheap." I will search for the best deal I possibly can get before I buy something. I get the lowest price I can possibly get. This applies to everything, especially when it comes to paying a monthly fee for something. We currently pay just under $100 for our cell phone plan. I really don't want to pay over $100 a month for cell phone service. To me, that's just ridiculous. We don't have internet on our phones and to upgrade we'd have to get internet. I have a Blackberry currently and would like to stick with that or get some other kind of smartphone. It's freaking $30 a month for a dataplan with T-Mobile to upgrade to a new Blackberry or smartphone. John also wants a smartphone so our bill would go up $60+ a month (don't forget all those stupid taxes) for us to stay with T-Mobile. That's just too much for me. No way in hell will I pay $160+ a month for cell phone service unless those phones are smart enough to cook dinner and do the dishes afterwards.

The discounts with AT&T will get us a plan at around $120 a month, but we get 300 less minutes and 200 less text messages. We need those minutes and messages, but to upgrade the plans it'd put us back up around the $140-$150 mark, which again, I'm just not willing to pay. Why should I pay more for less than what I currently have? All I'm getting out of it is internet, which I actually don't want on my phone anyways. That's why I spent a bunch of money on a new laptop - to use the internet. If I'm going to pay that much I might as well get rid of the internet at my house and connect my phone to my computer! Oh wait, that'll cost me $60 instead of $15 a month with AT&T. I might as well keep my internet provider in that case. AT&T also has the A-List which lets you call up to 5 numbers for free, but that only comes with the more expensive plan, not the cheaper plan that would really benefit from the service. Why give something free to someone that could use it, huh AT&T?

So yeah. Slightly annoyed with the world of cell phones at the moment. The only other option is to buy an unlocked cell phone so that I can upgrade without having to add a dataplan. However, with an unlocked phone you end up paying full price and who wants to pay $300+ for a cell phone (maybe some of you IPhone crazies out there)?

And yes, I know many of you are wondering why in the world do I have a smartphone without the internet. One, I don't want to be THAT connected to everything. Texting and calling is enough for me. If I AM somewhere where I have limited internet access, such as when I'm traveling, I MIGHT add the dataplan and then cancel it when I get back. I don't need it all the time. Two, I like the usability of a smartphone and the menu options. Three, I like that I can sync it to my Outlook calendar. Four, I like that I can have a task list or notes section. For me a phone is to help me stay little more organized, to make phone calls, send the occasional text message and take the occasional picture. I don't need to follow my Twitter account or update my blog or transfer pictures over to Flickr or check my email. That's what my computer is for. If something is so important that you need to get it to me right this second, text or call me. Otherwise, it can wait.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Garden Explosion

I can't believe my garden has gone from this:

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to this:

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It's insane! The tomato plants are blooming

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and I have some tomatoes that are actually growing.

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I have a little garden spider that I like to watch sometimes. He usually hangs with the tomato plants, but I've found him in with the squash as well. The other morning I caught him eating his breakfast.

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My jalapeno plants both have little peppers on them.

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I bought these and there were two in the container. I can't figure out if they're both jalapeno or if this one is supposed to be a banana pepper. Not a clue as to why it's yellow.

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My bell pepper seedlings are doing well.

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As is the one that I bought from the store. It actually has some little peppers starting to form.

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The green beans are growing like crazy finally.

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I actually picked these the other day and ate them.

Now the squash and zucchini. They're insane.

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Every time I give them away, I pick that same amount the very next day.

About a month ago I sliced open two of the plants to get rid of vine borers. I lost a zucchini plant that day and thought I had gotten them all from on the of the squash, but this is evidence that I did not.

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I'm not really upset about it. I have more squash and zucchini than I could ever eat.

Ants also like to hang around in the blossoms. Don't really know if it's a good or a bad thing but figure they probably do some pollinating while they're there.

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I kind of sort of hope they give up soon. The plants are starting to get covered in this white powder as well. I haven't really taken the time to figure out what it is, but it hasn't spread to any of the other plants. You can see it on one of the leaves here by the green beans.

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If these die soon I may just plant some more in the fall. Hey, it's pretty much summer here all year! By fall I may want squash and zucchini again!

I really think I'm going to only plant one of each next year and surround them with nasturtium. The zucchini that has the nasturtium around it is the only one that hasn't been hit by vine borers yet.

The cucumber plants are still just ok. Well, this one is kind of dying from I don't know what.

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I'd replant it but the stupid pill bugs would probably get to it first. Bastards.

These two are doing ok if the zuchinni would give them some breathing room I think.

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I think I'm kind of destined to never grow cucumbers. I'm going to continue to try though!

My leaf lettuce got attacked by some little green worms. I enjoy flooding the pots to knock them off and then smashing the little worms. It makes me feel better after a rough day.

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This is supposed to be head lettuce, but it doesn't really seem like it is. Who knows? It's big is all I know.

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As for the other plants in pots? Well we had a storm a few weeks ago. It didn't really rain, it was just really windy. After the storm 3 plants died

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and a week later this tomato finally gave up.

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This one is still rocking strong though.

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I think I might put it in a bigger pot now that some are free.

Before I forget, my marigolds are also gigantic! They've gown so tall I've had to time them to the chicken wire.

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I always thought marigolds were short bushy plants?

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I have no idea what the creepy looking bug on the flower is either.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Little Things

I read through some of my previous blog posts and WOW do I really need to proofread before I publish. I apologize for my poor grammar. Thank you for continuing to read despite my errors. I'm sure it has been painful for some of you, especially my English major husband.

I have squash and zucchini coming out of my ears. Last weekend I had 12 and gave 8 away. There are now close to 20 in my pantry and I don't know how many growing on the plants out there. A guy at work told me he is vegetarian and I'm now going to supply him with some of my excess veggies. I told him he could call me his "dealer." I'd be happy to "deal" to anyone else that wants some.

I saw the stupid moths the make vine borers out on the squash plants for 2 days now. I don't even care. Let them die. Although the one plant that hasn't been hit (yet) is the one flanked on either side by the nasturtium. I guess it does work on keeping the buggers away.

Speaking of bugs I'm contemplating buying those bug in a bag traps for the stupid June Bugs. They're out and about and are what cause gross grubs to appear in my garden and lawn. Some say it attracts more, but those that have tried it have seen results with it.

Work changed my hours and departments. I LOVED the department I was in. LOVED it. I had a ton of fun, loved the hours, loved the work and now I'm in one that I don't enjoy as much. Plus my hours are worse than ever. I get to see John for 5 minutes before I rush out the door, and I'm getting home later than I ever have in the three months that I've worked there. Plus they cut my hours. I've had 32-40 since I started and am now at 26. Major suckage. At least now I'll be able to pull a double and work a shift at the restaurant and then at the store, but I'm back to only one day off a week. :(

The new department is killer on my Old Man Toe. I'm so very very glad that I got the Dr. to write me a no running note, but I find that even walking really fast can hurt it. I'm taking a super heavy duty anti-inflammatory for it to treat flare ups, but it really sucks that it just won't go away.

That's about it around here. We're gearing up for the 3rd Annual Hinchman Olympics on July 4th. It should be more fun than ever!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Becky's Birthday

I left my camera at home so you'll have to excuse my poor quality cell phone pictures.

The birthday girl was excited to eat a giant 37 inch pizza at Big Lou's.

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Massive Pizza

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John folded his up to eat his.

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The only problem with eating a giant pizza for dinner - not a lot of room for birthday drinks. We tried our best though. Happy birthday again Becky!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Love

I have a group of friends that gets together every month for what we call BYOV or Bring Your Own Vino. It's a great way to catch up with everyone and try some new wines. Generally everyone brings a favorite or the cheapest one they could find. Either way you get to try new things and sometimes by the end of the night it doesn't really matter if you like it that much or not, you can't really tell anyways. I usually bring a favorite either of my own, or one I know is a crowd favorite. I usually have a couple of bottles of my favorite on hand because I'm a creature of habit.

I'm open to trying new wines, but generally have around a $10 to maybe $15 limit (honestly, I'd buy the $15 one on sale for $12) Let's face it, I'm cheap and there really are some great wines in the price range. So the other day I saw someone buying this wine and he said it was fantastic. At only $10 I was sold!

I picked up a bottle today (got a 1.5 litre bottle for $10 at Costco) and I'm in love.



I could probably drink the whole bottle, but I'm not sure how John would feel about coming home to me passed out wine drunk on the couch.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Family Visit

John's sister and her family paid us a visit this past weekend. We celebrated two of our nephew's birthdays

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Chucked pears at a sign in the park

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and did some skateboarding

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The next day we ended up at Six Flags

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and found ways to stay cool



Then on Tuesday we ended up at Blanco State Park for some fun in the river.

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It was a fun visit and hopefully we'll get to spend some time with them again soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Conversations with John

F: *laughing* Have you seen the new Dos XX commercial for The Most Interesting Man in the World?
J: Which one?
F: *laughing* The one where they say, "Sharks have a week dedicated to him."
J: *laughing* Oh man! I'd love to be The Most Interesting Man in the World.
F: Right?
J: So, who do you think would win in a fight? The Most Interesting Man in the World or Chuck Norris?
F: Whoa. That's a hard one. I just don't know....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cheesy Poofs

John didn't believe that they still made giant plastic containers of Cheesy Poofs until I came home with this:

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It's evil. Every time we walk by it's like, "Oh, look! Cheesy Poofs! Let me just have a handful." One handful turns into 20 and next thing you know, I don't want to eat the dinner I just finished making.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicken, Zucchinni and Squash Soup

Since every time I give away some squash or zucchini I seem to pick that same amount from the garden it's been a struggle to come up with ways to cook it. Plus it doesn't help that John confessed he doesn't really like squash or zucchini. He said it had more to do with how it's cooked, but he's yet to make a complaint about how I've cooked it so I guess I'm doing something good!

I've wanted to make soup and swear I've had a soup with squash, zucchini and chicken in it. I searched high and low and every soup recipe seemed to be a puree or didn't have squash in it like I thought it did. I even went so far as to ask my old coworker for her Caldo recipe knowing that she is allergic to squash just to see if I had some similarities in there (I'm still going to make her recipe since it's almost a weekly staple at her house). I wanted a broth soup, not a puree, but something that didn't also remind me of chicken noodle soup with some squash thrown in there.

Finally a Google search landed me over at $5 Dinners. I've heard of the site a billion times, but somehow never actually made my way to it. I'm now kicking my own ass for it.

I came across 3 posts about soup with zucchini and squash in them. You can find them here, here and here. I really made the 1st one - Zucchini Stew, but added squash from the 2nd. My coworker also used rice in her recipe (she makes some, but I just threw in white rice) and from her recipe I took just throwing in some bone in pieces of chicken since I had some leftover rotisserie chicken. I also didn't use salt because I used bouillon cubes. Also don't get thrown off by the sweet potato in the recipe - it's a side. It freaked me out for a second until I realized that, but I also think it's a weird side for soup. Broccoli is the same in the 2nd recipe.

The soup turned out REALLY good. Unfortunately I don't have a picture because I ate early, John ate later and by the time I got home and packaged the rest of the way I totally forgot. Mind didn't turn out as red as the one on $5 Dinners. It's was more yellowy broth type of look with some tomato chunks here and there. What's funny is that I had started this post while it was cooking and after John ate he called to say how good it was and how he never liked squash or zucchini before, but it must be the way I make it because it's really good!

Tomorrow will most likely be another recipe post, but I promise to take a picture or two this time!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Complete Package on a Plate

Dave and Buster's used to have these Cali Bar Chick sandwiches that were awesome. They serve their 4 small sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls and they're amazing! I had an avocado that was going to go bad very soon and came up with the idea of doing a California chicken sandwich. John called this meal "the complete package on a plate" because I also sliced up a giant dill pickle and put it on the plate.

I have no pictures to show you because, well, I was hungry and really didn't know that the food would be so delicious. To make these sandwiches coat two small chicken breasts in salt, pepper, garlic powder and Cajun/Blackening Seasoning (you can pound the breasts out a bit so they take up the full bun). I used a grill pan to cook mine but you can broil or actually grill them if you'd like. Just before taking them off the heat top with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve on a burger bun (or your choice of bread) with mustard, lettuce, tomato and most importantly, sliced avocado.

I also made some homemade baked french fries and topped them with seasoning salt.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Conversations with John

John: So there's this blog I read and the girl that writes it REALLY needs update it.

Happy now babe? :)

I'll have something more exciting to write, when something exciting happens. All I've got is the 15 squash/zucchini I pick from my garden each week.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Unplugged

My friend Julie has the most awesome coworkers in the entire world. I used to tell her to ask her boss if I could come be their overpaid admin or anything else in their office just so I could work there with them. They regularly have these wonderful conversations in their office and the other day discussed going Unplugged for an entire week.

They talked of the time they waste reading blogs or generally messing around of the internet, the amount of time spent on Facebook or Twitter, watching useless TV programs, cartoons used to babysit their kids and video games used to babysit their husbands. They went home that day with the decision to officially unplug from June 6th - 12th which means:

No TV.

No movies.

No video games (console or handheld).

No social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

No reading of blogs.

No writing of blogs.

No online gaming.

No watching TV or movies online.

No internet except one news site of your choice.

No using the internet or internet/gaming/social media apps on your phone.

No surfing the internet at work.

If someone in your household is watching TV, choose to go to another room and do something different.

No going out (bar, restaurant, people’s homes) for the purpose of watching TV.

Music (radio, cable music channels, iPods, CDs) are okay.

Reader devices (E-Reader and Kindles) are okay.

DVR-ing what you missed during the UNPLUGGED week is okay.

What do you think? Could you Unplug for an entire week? Do you think your spouse would Unplug with you? Julie got a 2 day commitment from her husband and her coworkers didn't get much better from their families. I personally don't know if I could do it. I'm definitely more unplugged now than I used to be, but don't know that I can do more (I also do not have an internet phone so I'm already more unplugged than most of my friends out there). What do you think?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Adventures in Restaurants and Retail

Working at the store and at the restaurant has been a change. I'm not sitting at a desk for 40 hours a week, I'm now standing and running and bending for 40 hours a week. Hey - I've lost 5 pounds so far! I also find myself being a little more disconnected than usual. I'm not on the computer all day. I don't always know what's going on in the world because I get up after the morning news and I may not even get on the computer for a full day. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it's really refreshing.

Another change is with the type of people I work with. I'm no longer one of the youngest, I've become one of the oldest and probably one of the most educated in the room. I did a survey one night and most people thought I was 22-25. I about died at the 22, especially after 3 people said it. Most of the kids are still in school (I don't exactly let the whole Master's Degree get out) and that's usually the first question anyone asks me. I tell them that I've been done with school for awhile and then I usually get asked if I have kids.

Speaking of young coworkers, most of them can't even legally drink! One of my coworkers at the store was talking about "how like most of her friends were like 21 and her boyfriend is like 21, but she's not going to be 21 for awhile still" all I could think was, "please don't ask me to buy you beer." Another young coworker likes to talk about his fake ID and then goes on to tell me how a Long Island Iced Tea is his favorite drink. I told him that ordering one of those SCREAMS underage. Poor kid. I was there once....oh 8 years ago.

Dealing with customers is also interesting. I only work days at the restaurant because I hate drunk people. Yeah, people get drunk there during the afternoon while I'm there, but not like they do at night. The restaurant is downtown so it's mainly tourists. Tourists generally tip well and I actually make more money there than I do at the store. There's no guarantee that I'll make that kind of money though. Weather, conventions in town, a lot of things play into how busy we are or aren't

I surprisingly tend to make more money waiting tables when I just don't care. In fact sometimes, I can be just a tad bit rude or sarcastic and people love it. I always make more money like than when I'm in this fantastic mood.

At the store I tend to get asked 80 million questions about where things are located. Most of the time I guess. I had a lady ask me to look down her pants to tell her what size they were (ummmm.....personal much?). Another man asked me to ask another female coworker what size jeans she wore because he thought she was the same size as his girlfriend (she wasn't even close!) When I first started I only folded clothes (whoo hoo! Put those degrees to work!) and would get a TON of comments about how it's a never ending job, someone's just going to mess it up, how busy I must be folding clothes all the time, and a few apologies here and there for messing up my neatly stacked pile. My one and only response to these are to laugh and say, "I like to call it job security." For some reason people eat that response up!

My favorite thing about the store is to see the kids that sit under the tables and read. Sometimes they're by themselves and sometimes it's an older child reading to a younger. I love it.

My least favorite thing are the kids that are left to run wild and play hide and seek among the tables. I've totally thought about tripping a few of them. It reminds me of the kids at Dave and Busters that would often be left alone. I thought about tripping some of them too.

Oh and also, PLEASE whatever you do. Do not ask your 4 year old to "sort" through a neatly folded stack of clothes to find his or her size. Totally NOT COOL.

I've been in a new position at the store for about a month now and I'm really enjoying it. Almost anything is more exciting than folding clothes for 32 hours a week. My hours are better - the latest I usually work is 6:30 and I often get 40 hours a week. Plus the pay is a bit higher. I get to
go out and market for the company and offer special promotions on things. It's more professional and something I can put on a resume. Plus I can now bore my friends to death with information about the company and its products.

The store I work at is a pretty popular one here. One that a lot of people I know frequent. I've seen multiple past coworkers there. 2 I avoided like the plague, the others I talked to for a bit. I've run into several old friends there as well. The number one thing people have told me though, "You look really happy." Oh my am I ever happy. I may have 2 degrees, I may have taken a nearly 50% cut in pay, I may work nights and weekends and I used to have to cook dinner in the mornings so John and I can still eat home cooked meals, I sometimes only have one day off a week, I may miss out on happy hours and things like that, but I am so happy it's sick.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Garden Growth

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The garden is getting huge. The plants in the pots are all growing (all I had to do was fertilize and things started growing! Who'd a thought?)

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I've had to cage the tomato plants.

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The jalapeno plants are also looking up and are about to be covered in flowers.

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The fertilizer has helped my bell pepper seedlings quite a bit.

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I did buy a bell pepper plant just in case though.

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Both squares of marigolds have 1 plant each that is blooming and 1 plant that is growing super tall.

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The green bean plants are doing well despite being taken over by the squash plant.

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I'm trying to redirect this particular squash plant since it's starting to reach past the green beans, into the marigolds and is almost at the tomato plants. It'll learn to grow up eventually.

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My squash and zucchini plants never looked like this when they were in pots.

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I'm hoping to actually get some cucumbers this year.

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They're being swallowed by the neighboring zucchini plant so I'm a little worried about bees being able to get to them. Bees have been everywhere in the garden though so hopefully they'll come through for me this year. I think ants have also been helping out a lot this year. I've harvested over 10 squash and zucchini and that's just from the two large plants. The other two are about to start blowing up as well. Squash anyone?
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